Friday, September 19, 2008

An Observation

I've had the fortune to work at many types of companies in a variety of industries. I've met some incredible people, some of who have become very close friends.

One thing that seemed to exist in every form of corporate culture - from small to medium to large businesses, is that the kitchen always seemed to have notes from a variety of employees, from bottom to the top that basically stated "clean up after yourself, don't expect someone to do it for you". One of my favorite ones was filled with expletives, complete with stick figures on HOW to put your coffee cup and dirty dish IN the dishwasher instead of in the sink for someone (your mother) to put away.

My current company is the FIRST and only place that has no sign. In fact, it nary ever has a cup in the sink. Sometimes there are some sugar crumbs or a coffee ground or two, but by the end of the day, that too is cleaned up. Is it because everyone here has learned to treat the company kitchen as their own? Is it because they have had it beaten into them? Has the company managed to hire incredibly responsible people who are willing to GASP, put their own dish and a meandering spoon from the sink into the dishwasher? What miraculous and amazing anomoly exists here? Are we in a vortex of consideration and respect?

No, we are not.

My company has a manufacturing division. It is basically made up of 100% Chinese workers who spend their day sodering and packaging our product. They're in by 8:00am and work steadily until the end of the day. One of the ladies, who I secretly call my mom at work, is super super sweet. It's not actually in her job description, but she empties out the dishwasher, makes coffee, boils a pot of hot water every morning. Every single morning. The other workers come in and fill their hot water thermos and bring it to the assembly kitchen, which does not offer the same facilities. Often, I leave my cup by the kettle waiting for it to boil (I'm in by 7:45am). I lose track of time, forget, whatever, and whenever I arrive in the kitchen, they've always filled up my cup. Always. I've seen some of the other employees take sugar from the bag instead of filling up the sugar canister, same with the creamer. I've seen people put their cups and dirty plates into the sink. And without fail - the group of manufacturers will put those dishes into the sink - without ever saying a word. They will tidy up the kitchen, make sure it's spotless and better than when they were in it.

I went to my little girl's school for parent orientation yesterday, and it took 1.45 hours to complete. For a preschool. But it was incredibly eye opening to actually see first hand, all the tools that she has on hand everyday. In the life skills area, they learn to pour, and sponge and squeeze, pick, and all the things we adults do everyday. They clean up after themselves when they make a mess, with rags that they have to hang up to dry. Everything is their size, including a mop and broom for bigger messes. They learn to respect each others work space, to wait patiently for their turn, to be kind, to walk around another child's learning mat and to be independant and responsible for themselves. They learn how to sew to improve hand and eye coordination - and they learn to use the same finger hold for properly holding a pencil, well before they ever put a pencil in their hand for writing. Basic skills that lay the foundation of being a kind and considerate person in everyday life. I wonder, if all our children were given these opportunities to grow in this way, would our world not be a better place for living?

I feel honored today in many ways. Honored to be a mom to a child who is learning to be a better person at age 2. I am honored to work with respectful, kind and considerate people. I am honored to have people in my life who are kind and considerate to me even when it's not easy.

I am honored to be alive to witness all of these things.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So much to do, so little time

Opps... I didn't know I had comments disabled for non-bloggers. But it's enabled now, so comment if you wish.

There are just not enough hours in a day, and not enough energy in my body to accomplish all the tasks that need to be done in a day. I honestly mean it when I say that I'm barely getting by. Some days are better than others, but I am no longer able to rely on this body, as it is not my own. I find it absolutely incredible and facinating that I now have limits. Oh how I have not appreciated my strength when I had it. How I lazed fancifully watching brain numbing television when I could have built a fence, a garden a house. I had so much time to accomplish my dreams and set myself up for life, and instead, I slept and ate and played, and here I am 25 weeks pregnant, with less than 3.5 months until my due date and what do I have to show for it?

Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

I am a disorganized mess.

But the funny and most ironic thing of all - is that I don't feel overwhelmed. I haven't kicked my ass yet. I've been taking it day by day, doing the most important things like... taking care of my kid, eating and sleeping and blissfully living in a happy bubble of content, while the world collapses all around me and I think...

I am happier now, than I have ever been in my life.

And isn't that just the most fucked up crazy shit ever. Seriously.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out, Out, Damn Spot

Last night, I was looking after my twin nephew and neice, who were both sick with green snifflies and a cough. Also, I had my little girl who was developing a bit of a cough herself. She was distracted by our next door neighbour and ended up watching videos and playing trains. The twins were happily playing with toys and eating dinner when the girl started to cry. I tried to give her milk to soothe her, but she was not to be consoled. After crying for 45 minutes and being offered milk, juice, yogurt, a bath - I gave her a rub down of eucalyptus to clear her chest and sinuses, and put lavender on her feet. I dosed her with some tylenol after her parent's insistence and tried to rock her. My sister (bless her soul) came up to take her from me and after more rocking and singing she finally fell into a slumber after 15 more minutes. She was still recovering from crying during her sleep. Her brother started to get tired shortly after and both were in bed by 8:30. During this time, I managed to make spaghetti for today's lunch, feed my little girl, get her to drink soy milk and get her settled into bed. She was a bit restless, but after a rubdown with eucalyptus and peppermint and lavender on her feet, I turned out the lights. I asked her if it was okay if she slept alone. She said yes, and I got up and got the urge to clean.

It's been awhile since I've cleaned this intensely, but I tackled 3 bathrooms fully. Bathtubs, toilets and all. I found a rust stain on my countertop, and all of the natural potions I had did not make it budge a millimetre. So I employed a toothbrush and toothpaste. While getting out the spot, and the rest of the cleaning, I got to reflecting, like I tend to do. This is what people mean when they do something and find cathartic release. Exercise, baking, sex, cleaning. I scrubbed that dark orange rust stain out, and while I scrubbed, I thought about the dynamics of human relationships and how they are so very very interesting.

I have an incredible relationship with my sister. I used to think that this was just how it was between sisters, and have found this to be uncommon. I feel lucky to have someone who will take my place whenever it is needed, without ever being asked. And the feeling is completely mutual. I know, that I'll always look after my sister.

I did all the dishes, packed lunches, cleaned the kitchen, replaced towels and took a deserved shower. As the water rolled down my body, cleansing me inside and out - I thought, this is what it feels like to be a super hero.

Unfortunately, I stumbled out of the shower because my sciatica is acting up. I doubt super hero's have these issues.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Always Be My Baby

I'll be honest, I take a lot of pride in what my daughter can do an accomplish. There was a time where I felt a little guilty, and even boastful when I brought it up - but I realized that if you start feeling guilty about pride in your child, you may never affirm to your child that you are indeed proud. My parents are very humble folk, and so they have never shown pride in their children, and because of this, we never felt that we had anything to be proud of. Actually, we felt we were never actually good enough. I do try not to gloat too much, but there is much to be proud of!

Today's world promises tomorrow's leaders. Children have more opportunity, smarter parents and more information at their finger tips. Preschool comes in varying formats, including Junior Kindergarten that promises to produce kids that can read and count before they turn 5! And why not for those that are able.

Ability comes at all ages and in all forms. There are 40 year olds that have no clue what they want to do in life and there are 3 year olds that are composing their own music. Neither are better or worse, just different. Shunning and naysaying about methodoligies just because you do not agree with them is actually being ignorant. Nothing works for everyone, and as parents we just have to judge, hopefully, what is best for our very own very unique children.

It's true that most boys tend to be a little slower when it comes to particular skills. And it is also true that girls are not as strong as boys. They're built differently, and genetically, they are different. Women, just don't bald. The 'baldness gene' is influenced by testosterone. So if you have one parent that carries the baldness gene and they have a boy - the boy will be bald. If they have a girl, she will not be bald. If both parents have the baldness gene, then the girl may have wispy hair - but not ever be bald. These are just plain facts. Gross motor skills come quicker for girls and girls tend to, for the most part, speak sooner. But that doesn't mean that a 3 year old boy is any worse off than a 3 year old girl, just because she is speaking sooner. By the time they are both 5, they both will be speaking. Same goes for walking, same goes for any of that!

If your child is clingy, and not ready - it's okay to hold them back a little. Nurture the nature of your child and when your child feels safe and secure - they'll be ready. I truly truly believe that. Sometimes pushing a child too hard might actually be traumatic. The most important thing in all of this, is to really know your child, be close enough to understand and read the cues. Honor your child by listening to their feelings, how they react to strangers, people. How they feel when they've done something wrong or right. Learn your child's love language. When they misbehave - is it just a product of the environment, or is it a cry for something that is bothering them deeper. As parents, it is our responsibility to not just dismiss things that happen, but to figure out why they did and understand what happened, and what needs to happen to ensure that the child feels safe, secure and loved.

Our decision to put our little girl into preschool was because we felt she was ready. She has been potty trained at 2 years, including naps and bedtime. Her venacular is surprising for her age and she is a bright, sunny and happy child. She loves to learn, loves to read and be read to, and she loves being around other children. Her mind is a sponge and she craves to fill it. When I first dropped her off, she ran away from me, eager to get to her class. Each day is filled with wonderful stories of what she's done. She often corrects me when I make a mistake in my own wording. Yesterday, she learned a new sound ssssssssss ssssssssssss is for sssssssssssnake. So we came up with some other s words and we keep things light and easy and we never ever push her too hard.

I picked her up at child minding as I was working late, and she was playing trains. She got upset that she had to go, because she was, playing trains! She wrapped her arms around herself and made a pouty face, and I reminded her to use her words. She lit up when she was reminded that she colored a picture for me (which is hanging in my office right now) and she found our van in the parking lot, and she told me she made a bracelet at the cottage (her daycare). I marvelled at how much she has grown and how my little baby is now a little girl.

And after dinner, when her body became exhausted from a full day's event, she turned to me and asked me to pick her up. And I smiled at her and lifted her up over my very pregnant belly. I held her really tight and rocked her gently while kissing the top of her head. She cooed like a little baby.

Although my girl is growing and getting so big. Although she is expected to be independant and do whatever she can on her own - whenever my big girl wants to be a baby - I know, deep, deep, deep in my heart, she can always come to me. And I will always let her be my baby.

Friday, September 05, 2008

23 Weeks Pregnant

The time from now until the end is going to drag slow, slow, slow.

The baby is moving a lot, and remind me that 'hey, I'm here!!!' I'm still super exhausted most of the time, but brushing my teeth is no longer a chore that I dread.

Ava started her first week of daycare and pre-school. Unlike many children that might feel a token or more of apprehension, my daughter go out of the car, yelled 'bye mom' and peeled away from me. I had to chase after her and remind her that I was coming too! The instructor was very impressed by Ava's independence. She was quick to befriend children, shared and talked about sharing and remembered to put away her toys. It was a joy to watch, as well as a little saddening for mommy. My little girl is growing up so much. She can hold a full conversation with me, talking about what she did today. I am truly amazed. And... because she has my empathy, she said to me 'don't worry mommy, I'll be back. I'll always come back to you.' And when I left, she said 'okay, bye mom, you pick me up later, okay?' She loves school, and she never even wants to come home.

I started selling jewellery part time to help supplement my income while I'm on Maternity leave. I think I sell WAY more to myself and it is actually a lot of fun. My new order with savorski crystal chandalier earrings came in today with a matching black hematite square bracelet and I am giddy, giddy, giddy! I'm having my first jewellery party tonght too, so hopefully things go well. When I sell pieces, it is always incentive to replenish and of course, reward myself! Jewellery is one of those things that are very very frivilous, thus making them very very smile inducing.

I had a bad week, but I'm happy with my life. I feel that... all of it is working in a balance that I am not yet capable of understanding, but fully able to reach out and behold. I am blessed in so many ways, and am so so so very lucky to be able to share it with a tiny little two year old who knows more about me, than I sometimes know about myself.